Ocular infection with herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) results in a chronic immunoinflamammtory reaction in the cornea, which is primarily orchestrated by CD4+ T cells. Hence, targeting proinflammatory CD4+ T cells or increasing the representation of cells that regulate their function is a relevant therapeutic strategy. In this report, we demonstrate that effective therapeutic control can be achieved using a combination of approaches under circumstances where monotherapy is ineffective. We use a convenient and highly effective monoclonal antibody (MAb) approach with MAbT25 to expand cells that express the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 25 (TNFRSF25). In naïve animals, these are predominantly cells that are Foxp3-positive regulatory T cells. MAbT25 treatment before or at the time of initial HSV infection was an effective means of reducing the severity of subsequent stromal keratitis lesions. However, MAbT25 treatment was not effective if given 6 days after infection since it expanded proinflammatory effector T cells, which also express TNFRSF25. Therefore, the MAbT25 procedure was combined with galectin-9 (Gal-9), an approach that compromises the activity of T cells involved in tissue damage. The combination therapy provided highly effective lesion control over that achieved by treatment with one of them. The beneficial outcome of the combination therapy was attributed to the expansion of the regulatory T cell population that additionally expressed activation markers such as CD103 needed to access inflammatory sites. Additionally, there was a marked reduction of CD4+ gamma interferonproducing effector T cells responsible for orchestrating the tissue damage. The approach that we describe has potential application to control a wide range of inflammatory diseases, in addition to stromal keratitis, an important cause of human blindness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science